It was announced recently that Alexandra ‘Alex’ South (daughter of former Giltinan champion Adam South) would skipper an 18ft Skiff during the Australian 18 Footers League’s 2012-2013 Season on Sydney Harbour.
Skiff Chicks Racing
19-year-old Alex has now named her all-girl team of 23-year-old Frances Dargaville and 19-year-old Saskia Tidey, who are known as ‘Skiff Chicks Racing’.
The trio will be only the second all-girl crew to attempt a season of competition in the 18s, which will begin with the $10,000 3-Buoys Challenge on 14 October.
Alex is confident her team will be more successful than the original. 'The previous all-girl crew split up early in the season. We intend to become the first all-girl team to contest the Giltinan Championship since it began in 1938'.
‘Skiff Chicks Racing’ has already attracted sponsorship interest. 'We expect to be able to name a sponsor prior to our first race of the season', Alex added.
While the girls are confident of becoming the first all-girl team to contest the Giltinan, they also realize that taking on the world’s best skiff sailors will be a tough task as most rookie teams have to overcome the lack of experience in such a demanding class.
That aside, the three girls are all talented young sailors and Adam South’s experience as their coach will be invaluable.
Adam has already been busy since taking over the boat. 'I’ve been checking and preparing the boat and sourcing the best available sails and rigging' .
'We’re getting two new headsails and a new number one (big) spinnaker plus a new boom, and hope to have the number one mainsail off last season’s champion Gotta Love It 7', Adam said.
Skiff Chicks Racing
Alex, who is presently studying (Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences), at the University of Sydney, has already achieved many goals in her sailing career.
She has been a Member of the Australian Sailing Squad since 2008, has been a Silver Scholarship holder, NSW Institute of Sport since 2009 and was a Finalist in Yachting Australia Female Sailor of the Year 2010, 2011.
She was placed second in the Laser Radial Australian Olympic Trials for London 2012 and has been National Champion on six occasions between 2006 and 2012.
'I’m excited to be following in the footsteps of my dad. The 18s have always been a dream of mine- and I am really lucky to be involved at such a young age- and to be honest, I never thought it would be with such a good looking crew!'
'I can't wait to start racing. The Skiff Chicks are ready for what the season holds- even though we may be a little anxious right now!'
'The 18 is the pinnacle of harbour sailing- the history, the characters and everything else that forms the class makes it such an honour to be a part of. I guess, we are a part of that colourful history, now...'
'We're about sailing fast, having fun and promoting women in sailing. If we can do all of that, and have smiles on our faces at the end of the day- I think the campaign will be a great success.'
Skiff Chicks RacingL (From left) Alex, Saskia, and Fran
Frances Dargaville is also a student (Bachelor of Planning at the University of New South Wales) with a strong sailing record:
'Goals for this season are to go fast and have fun! Working with an all-girl crew in the 18 footers is an incredible opportunity; we have to show the boys what we are capable of'.
'I have had a season off sailing to travel the world, and now I can’t wait to get back into boating and give it all I’ve got!'
Third member of the team is Saskia Tidey, a full time sailor/coach from Dublin, Ireland.
Saskia, who arrived in Australia only a few weeks ago, is a member of the Irish Sailing Academy, Olympic Development Squad and is first ranked Irish Female 470 team in 2011 and 2012:
'I’ve been offered a unique opportunity, sailing as part of the Skiff Chicks crew. It is an honour to be competing in such a prestigious class'.
'The season ahead should be very challenging but should be a very exciting experience'.
The team will be one of 19 skiffs lining up for Race 1 of the 3-Buoys Challenge on Sunday 14 October.
Autralian 18 Footers League website